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Americans with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The law provides a broad array of civil rights protections for people with disabilities, including prohibitions against employment discrimination and mandates to make public accommodations accessible.

Statement of Policy: Commissioners for St. Mary's County

It is the policy of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County, Maryland to ensure that, when viewed in their entirety, St. Mary's County Government services, programs, facilities, and communications are readily accessible and usable by qualified individuals with disabilities to the maximum extent possible. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of St. Mary's County government, or be subjected to discrimination in the provision of such services.

St. Mary's County Government is an equal opportunity employer, and no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be subjected to discrimination in the employment, recruitment, or hiring practices of St. Mary's County government.

In addition:

St. Mary's County Government will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all its programs, services, and activities. Upon request, St. Mary's County Government will provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in programs, services, and activities.

Some Quick Tips: Disability Etiquette

  1. When talking with a person with a disability speak directly to that person rather tan through a companion or sign language interpreter.
  2. When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands.
  3. When meeting a person with a visual impairment, always identify yourself and others who may be with you.
  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.
  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending that same familiarity to all others present.
  6. Leaning or hanging on a person's wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on a person and is generally considered annoying.
  7. Listen attentively when you're talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for the person.
  8. When speaking with a person in a wheelchair, place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.
  9. To get the attention of a person who is hearing impaired, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly and expressively to establish if the person can read your lips.
  10. Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted, common expressions, such as "See you later" or "Did you hear about this" that seem to relate to the person's disability.

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

Barack Obama - Excerpt from Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009

Freedom doesn't come with a piece of paper. A piece of paper doesn't end a long history of intentional and purposeful discrimination. Ignorance is our greatest enemy...excluding someone from society simply because of disability is wrong.

President Bill Clinton-National Teleconference Address sponsored by Justice For All